Handing over a bribe for access to health-care is commonplace in Slovakia. Now the Doctors Trade Union LOZ has launched the anti-bribe campaign "No thanks, I don’t take bribes.”
To publicise the campaign, participating doctors will wear a badge proclaiming "No thanks, I don’t take bribes".
According to the Spectator patients will also be able to check on the Internet to see which doctors are participating. Additionally LOZ has asked for an anti-corruption hot-line to be set up so doctors that do elicit bribes can be reported.
The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer survey showed that one in four Slovakian households routinely paid bribes to access treatment. Transparency International Slovensko director Gabriel Šípoš explained "Many people don't know of any alternative." Many pay on the presumption of better treatment.
Cash bribes range from €20 upwards, with seven percent paying bribes exceeding €350. The Daily.SK reports Anton Chromik, lawyer for LOZ, draws a distinction between cash bribes and gifts. He says it is not a problem for doctors to accept flowers or chocolates from patients, but common gifts of alcohol and coffee appear to remain a gray area.